Cooperation between Egypt and Tanzania    Grassroots politics: A story from Beheira    Eni reaches agreements with Egypt, Naturgy to restart operations at gas plant in Damietta    The end of the beginning    Biden administration    British troops protecting Saudi oil wells    19-year-old Jones sends Liverpool into last 16 with Ajax win    Atletico still not through as Mueller snatches draw for Bayern    Gana Hena play at Al-Ghad Theatre is a must go    A final battle    Euphoric Ahly edge close to treble after win over Ittihad in Egypt Cup semis    Upgrading transport    Italy reports 19,350 new coronavirus cases, 785 deaths: Health ministry    Free Devastation    Don't miss Britt Boutros Ghali's show at Picasso gallery    After 4.2 million COVID-19 cases in November, US pins hope on vaccine    France aiming for broader COVID-19 vaccination campaign in spring: Macron    Egypt's stock market indices close higher, EGX 30 hikes 0.89% on Tuesday    Moderna files for U.S. vaccine authorization, will seek EU nod    Pfizer, BioNTech apply for coronavirus vaccine approval in Europe    Egypt reports 370 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths on Monday    Egypt to raise local components of locomotive industry to 45% – official    World Bank warns of 'prolonged depression' in Lebanon    Egypt's current account deficit jumps in April-June    Brexit unresolved, as EU, UK say big differences remain    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    US will reduce number of its troop in Iraq, Afghanistan    Asia forms world's biggest trade bloc, a China-backed group excluding U.S    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    1st stage of Egypt's parliamentary elections kicks off on Saturday    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    Legend footballer Lionel Messi says he is forced to stay with Barcelona    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Iraqi conglomerate eyes developing land that housed Mubarak-era ruling party HQ    Legend Messi officially wants to leave Barcelona, hands transfer request    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Beirut remembers the uprising
Published in Ahram Online on 20 - 10 - 2020

Lebanese protesters marked the first anniversary of the 17 October uprising against the country's post-civil war political system this week, and although the numbers were small, their message reached home.
Hundreds of Lebanese protesters marched in central Beirut on Saturday to mark a year since the nationwide 17 October uprising against the country's political regime.
“17 October is no memory; it is the story of a confrontation between a corrupt authority and the people,” read one sign carried by protesters waving the Lebanese flag in the capital.
A year ago, massive nationwide protests erupted in Lebanon, initially in response to government plans to impose taxes on free smartphone services such as Whatsapp.
The move triggered an already disillusioned and frustrated public reeling from economic crises, a steep devaluation of the local currency, and decades-old dysfunctional governance to take to the streets in protest, and it quickly exploded into an outcry against Lebanon's sect-based political system.
The growing trans-sectarian sentiments, unprecedented and unpredictable in themselves, were considered revolutionary, even if the Lebanese people debated among themselves about the labelling, meaning and impact of the protests.
While the largely leaderless protest movement lasted for months, it came to a halt because of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The protests resumed again in August following the Beirut port explosions that killed 200, injured 6,000 and made 30,000 homeless.
The government resigned in response, but little has changed in Lebanon since.
A year since the 17 October protests, only a few hundred showed up to mark the anniversary in a sign, the protesters and observers say, of exhaustion and despair, not of anger subsiding.
The protesters gathered in Martyrs Square in Beirut at noon and marched to the country's Banks Association, before heading to the Lebanese Central Bank and stoning the building. The march ended at the site of the Beirut port explosions where the protesters chanted against Lebanon's political leaders and lit candles for the victims.
The sullen scene captured Lebanon's dilemma: a dysfunctional status quo perpetuated by a system that has no intention of changing even in the face of seething public resentment and limited tools to introduce change.
Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Al-Hariri, forced to resign under pressure from the protests a year ago, is now preparing to return to his post.
The anniversary of the protests nevertheless offered a time of reflection on the protest movement and on Lebanon's current reality. “The consensus now is that it was inevitable,” wrote Lina Mounzer, a Beirut-based writer for Newslines, an online magazine.
“Whatever the organisational or strategic failures of the thawra [revolution], and there were many, the odds were stacked against us from the start. We were fighting not a single regime or figurehead, but the hydra-headed monster of sectarianism. We were fighting several security apparatuses, those of the state and that of [the Lebanese Shia group] Hizbullah,” she said.
The protest movement has been fighting the Lebanese banks, the economic system and the despair at losing a life's savings as a result of a drop in the local currency's value overnight.
“Who has the time or mental energy now to be down in the streets and squares” to protest, Mounzer asked.
Others argue that a year is not enough time for a process seeking change. Nadim Al-Kak, a Lebanese researcher, said that the protest movement had given visibility to the previously unseen politicisation of Lebanon's youth.
“A post-war generation that had grown to be scared and disconnected from politics is reinvigorated and had gained great maturity,” he wrote on Twitter.
The movement has also seen the expansion of grassroots networks and oppositional organisational structures, new political groups, and alternative labour and professional unions.
According to Al-Kak, it has expanded the introduction of a new set of radical ideas to the lexicon, including ideologies and approaches like intersectional feminism, radical environmentalism, anarchism and queer theory, all of which have been debated over recent months, “with the hopes of them becoming more mainstream,” he noted.
But in the face of this, the regime remains robust, he admitted. “Some parties have lost support, while others have stood firm or even grown. One year is nothing in the grand scheme of things,” he concluded.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 22 October, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


Clic here to read the story from its source.